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Shoe-throwing as protest: A photo timeline
Across the Arab world, protesters have been showing dictators their disdain — by lobbing shoes and flashing their soles
 
Showing the bottom of your shoe is a sign of disrespect in Middle Eastern cultures, which is why footwear can be so prominent during protests. Getty

Shoes, considered ritually unclean in the Muslim faith, are left outside the door to the mosque when believers go in to pray. "The dirty and degrading implication of the sole of a shoe crosses all religious boundaries in the Middle East," says Martin Asser at BBC News. By extension, the throwing of a shoe conveys contempt — as famously demonstrated when an Iraqi journalist flung his at President George W. Bush during a 2008 press conference. With protests flaring in the Arab world, shoe-based protests have become increasingly common in countries like Egypt, Yemen, and Libya. Here's a look at how this practice has spread.

 

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